Thursday, January 31, 2019

CMPL recommends Best Books of 2018: Reader Favorites



At the Main Library for the month of January, we put up a display of books that made various “Best of 2018” lists. Here are some of the titles that appeared on those lists:


Bad Blood by John Carreyrou - 338.76817 C

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – 364.1532 M

Educated by Tara Westover – BIO WESTOVER

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday – FIC HALLIDAY

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – FIC JONES

Circe by Madeline Miller – FIC MILLER

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – FIC MOSHFEGH

There There by Tommy Orange – FIC ORANGE

The Witch Elm by Tana French – MYS FRENCH

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – SS FIC KWAME


Then, we decided to ask YOU what YOUR favorite book of 2018 was. (This could be books published in 2018, or anything you read in 2018!) Here are the responses we received:


Educated by Tara Westover – BIO WESTOVER

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman – FIC ACKERMAN

This Scorched Earth: a novel of the Civil War by William Gear – FIC GEAR

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones – FIC JONES

Perfume: the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind – FIC SUSKIND

Dietland by Sarai Walker – FIC WALKER

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy – GN MCELROY

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – SF NOVIK

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – YA ALBERTALLI

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer – YA MEYER

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – ER 3 SEUSS

Gravity Falls: Journal 3 by Alex Hirsch – JFIC GRAVITY

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – JFIC ROWLING

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey – JGN PILKEY


Thanks to everyone who shared their favorites with us!

Natalie recommends "Cry Wolf"

I recently gave this book series a try earlier in 2018.  We had recently gotten the newest book in the series, known as the Alpha and Omega ser, Burn Bright.  I had to use the MeL system since we didn't have the copy of this particular title up until recently and I read it alongside Patricia Briggs' other series, the Mercy Thompson series, which ties into and coincides with this series.  Both series are really good, but I do like this one a little more.

It has to do with the main character, Anna, who up until recently didn't know that werewolves, vampires, and the like existed.  That is, until she is bitten by a werewolf and becomes one herself.  She was in a pack that wasn't all too kind until she meets Charles Cornick, the enforcer and son to the alpha of the Native American pack.  She joins this pack and is the mate of Charles.  Anna also discovers that she is considered a rare and valuable Omega.  This first installment sees her coming into her own in her new surroundings and aids in finding a rouge werewolf that could really shake things up for this pack if not dealt with.

This is an urban fantasy and is an Adult Fiction.  It's also worth mentioning that there is a short story that sets up this series titled "Alpha and Omega" which can be found in Shifting Shadows, a collection of Patrica Briggs' short stories in this universe, and is at South and can be held.

I recommend this since it is a unique series and I found it while looking for a book based around werewolf.  I am also current reading through the Alpha and Omega series for a second time.   And if you'd like, feel free to give the Mercy Thompson series a try.  They both can be read separately and as their own story, but they do reference each other just a little bit, especially since the love interest in the Mercy Thompson series is a member of Charles pack.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Erica recommends "Moon of the Crusted Snow"

When satellite TV and cell service go down in a small Anishinaabe community in northern Ontario, no one is too concerned. The First Nations reserve has only been on the grid for a few years anyway, and this has happened before. Then all power goes out, and there is no word from the utilities and government in the South. As winter comes on, with some members of the tribe better prepared than others, anxiety and conflict creep up. Soon, an unexpected visitor arrives from the South...
Be sure to have plenty of warm blankets as you read! Rice's new take on an Ojibwa legend is a slow, atmospheric descent. Recommended for adults and older teens.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Celia recommends "My Sister, the Serial Killer"


December 2018 Book of the Month


The inside cover of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite summarizes this book as “a darkly comic, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.” It is indeed a hand grenade of a novel. This book is surprising, funny, intense, creepy, and addictive. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop and I’ve been thinking about this book ever since.


The concept is simple – Korede’s sister, Ayoola, keeps murdering her boyfriends and leaving Korede to clean up the mess. Literally. Korede has developed methods for cleaning blood stains out of just about anything. However, the relationships - those between the siblings, between Ayoola and her boyfriends, between both sisters and their mother and dead father, between Korede and the coworker she has a crush on - are deep, complex, and twisted. Although you start the book knowing who the serial killer is, how she did it, and where she dumps the bodies, there is nothing predictable about this book. As the review in Publisher’s Weekly puts it “the reveal at the end isn’t so much a ‘gotcha’ moment as the dawning of an inevitable, creeping feeling that Braithwaite expertly crafts over the course of the novel.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Meghan Recommends "Eighth Grade"


If you are a fellow grown-up, can we just agree that middle school was the worst? Yeah? Great.


Well against all reason, I encourage you to step back into those loud, sweaty halls to experience the last week of eighth grade with Kayla Day in the film Eighth Grade. Kayla is shy, has a hard time making friends, and is on her phone ALL THE TIME. Kayla films advice videos for YouTube, telling her nonexistent audience to “be yourself” and “put yourself out there” and “be confident” even while she struggles to follow her own advice. She gets anxious in social situations. When her dad cajoles her into going to a classmate’s pool party, she nearly has a panic attack in the bathroom changing into her bathing suit.


But Kayla tries, and she not only jumps into the pool, she starts up a conversation with the “mean girl” host the following week at school. Kayla is thoughtful, and when tested, she sticks up for herself and makes good choices. Eighth Grade made me feel for Kayla, cringing as she tries to impress a boy she likes, and aching for her as she burns a box of her “hopes and dreams” from sixth grade. She just wants to have friends, and hasn’t learned yet that some people aren’t good friend material.


As the parent of an eighth grader, I saw my own kid in her. I rolled my eyes right back at Kayla, and I laughed in sympathy with her dad. This scene, as he drives her to mall, is just perfect:



Kayla: Can you not look like that please?

Dad: What? Like what?

Kayla: Just, like, the way you're looking.

Dad: Looking at the road?

Kayla: You can look at the road, Dad. I obviously didn't mean that. Just, like, don't be weird and quiet while you do it.

Dad: Sorry. Hey, how was the [high school] thing?

Kayla: No, you were being quiet, which is fine. Just, like, don't be weird and quiet 'cause, like, I look over at you, and I think you're about to drive us into a tree or something. And then I get really freaked out, and then I can't text my friend. So just, like, be quiet, and drive, and don't look weird and sad.


Um, ok? “This too shall pass” goes equally for parents and teens, I guess. While I wish I could give every anxious teen a hug and assure them that NO ONE has it all figured out by the end of eighth grade, some lessons kids just have to learn for themselves.



The film is rated R for language and some sexual situations. I did not watch it with my teen, but having seen it, the potentially objectionable content is probably nothing new to her. Seeing the film together might be uncomfortable, but it could also be a good way to start important conversations about self-respect, social media use, and expectations for behavior. That said, you can read more about the film at Common Sense Media, or pre-screen it (and think about what you want to say!) before viewing together.



Recommended for adults and possibly teens.



Meghan Mott

Outreach Librarian

Clinton-Macomb Public Library



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Annie recommends "Something in the Water"

A ‘what if we had’ situation many of us have dreamed of.  During their honeymoon in Bora Bora, Erin & Mark find an amazing treasure in the water.  As they grapple with the decision of what to do with it, their lives change in more ways they could imagine.  They force us all to decide, would we do what they did?   Another surprise – it’s the first novel of Catherine Steadman (Downton Abbey’s Mabel Lane Fox).  Recommended for adults.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Kathy recommends Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This is the epic story of four generations of a Korean-Japanese family beginning at the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1910s Japan occupied Korea. Sunja, the sheltered and beloved daughter of Hoonie and YangJin, is seduced by a wealthy, married older man. Pregnant, Sunja and her parents leave Korea and settle in Japan. The story unfolds as the family suffers from legal and social discrimination which was pervasive against the Koreans in Japan . Tragedies and joys unfold over the next eighty years. The author does a beautiful job of portraying each of the remarkable family members and their struggle to survive and prosper in a land that views them as outsiders. Historically accurate, this is a timely topic and a global view into the plight of immigrants who are born in a land previous generations adopted as their own, but are never fully accepted.

Natalie recommends "An invitation to Celtic wisdom: a little guide to mystery, spirit, and compassion"

As someone who likes Irish history and lore, I found this to be a nice read.  It talks about concepts and gives some wisdom that can be used today, through saints and some other interesting Celtic figures.  It uses figures from "Celtic Christianity" (as it explains that Christianity in Ireland has some unique traits to it) and pieces from Celtic lore.  It does have a section Saint Patrick, since he is one of Ireland's most well known saints, but ​some other figures brought up in this book include, Brigid, Brendan the Navigator, Columcille, and some other lesser known saints.  This book includes a section on some Celtic wisdom, which include a few Gaelic terms, one which revolves around "spiritual" friendships.  This is a short read, only consisting of one hundred and eighty-eight pages, but is a good read.  It can be found in the Adult Nonfiction section.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Uma recommends " The Duchess : Camilla Parker Bowles and the love affair that rocked the crown"

"The Duchess : Camilla Parker Bowles and the love affair that rocked the crown" by Penny Junor is a complete biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.  Junor wonderfully narrates Camilla's personality, hobbies and determinations. She delves deep into the role Camilla ultimately played in the split of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, while revealing many hidden truths about Camilla and Charles' love affair. This gripping biography is a great read for anyone who is fascinated by the British Royal Family.​ Recommended for adults.